As I said yesterday, it's been a while since I've posted regularly, and as such, a lot of things have happened since then, like Kidz Camp and the student leader camping trip, two of my favorite things that I do every year. In this blog post, I'll catch you up on what's been up with me, and some of the cool things God has been doing in my life.
The first thing I did after taking a break from this blog was go to Kidz Camp. And by Kidz Camp, I mean I went up to Skylodge Christian Camp in Montello and spent a week with some of my favorite people on Earth, teaching kids about the Gospel. And man, what a week it was.
My adventure began early on Saturday morning, after a stressful, sleepless night tossing and turning over problems I had been facing the week before. I decided to put all of my problems behind me and focus on the here and now--mainly, that the rest of the skit team and I were headed up early to finish the filming for the funny film series that was going to be shown to the kids throughout the week. After an eventful road trip, we made it up there safe and sound and started filming. It was hot, sweaty, fast-paced work, but it was also just what I needed to get my mind off my troubles. And before I knew it, the situation I had been so worried about was worked out too, and I was fully in Kidz Camp mode, everything at home left fully behind me.
That night turned out to be one of the best nights of my life. We did something we have never done before at the counselor meetings prior to the kids arriving on Sunday afternoon--we were the campers again. Some of the kids (children of some of the counselors) were up at Skylodge early, and so in a night of fun and letting go, us counselors became the kids and the kids were in charge of us. It was the greatest thing to just pretend to be a kid again--to laugh, to joke around with the other counselors, to just have fun for a change without any other worries hounding me. Around the campfire that evening, I shared from the deepest part of my heart how much that had really meant to me, and how relieved, recharged, and prepared I know felt for the week of ministry ahead.
And then Kidz Camp happened. And I was reminded once again (as I almost constantly am) how much I love children. The week flew by and before I knew it, I was back in Janesville again, but what an amazing experience it was. Loving on kids is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and as I said above, I got to do it with some of my very favorite people.
One thing that stood out to me about the week, in particular, was how great my brother Connor is at being in the moment with kids. He might have been the person with the most consistent energy and focus the entire week, and in a week where a lot of us were tired and dragging, that was a great help. Connor handles kids extraordinarily well, simultaneously loving on them and guiding them towards the behavior that they should portray, and I'd like the world to know how proud I am of him.
After getting home from Skylodge, a week of preparation and daily routine commenced. Though it was often stressful and filled with ups and downs, one of the main things that got me through the week was the fact that the wonderful Anna Jewell was back in town and I got to spend a lot of time with her.
The main event of the week was the wedding of one of my good friends, Amber Cole (now Amber Mileusnich) to her now-husband, Brian. Anna and I got to sing two beautiful hymns and a wonderful wedding song by Matthew West at the wedding, and it was a blast. From practicing the songs, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding itself, and driving there and back from both, every part of the process was great, and it was fantastic to send off one of my old friends into a new chapter of her life. Plus, I got to spend a lot of time with some of my favorite people--my dad, my friends Sarah and Miranda, the ever-lovely Anna, and of course, Amber herself.
It was a great little interlude between Kidz Camp and the student leader camping trip, and I'm glad I got to be there, even if the week was sort of stressful because of all the things having to be packed into it. The next morning, Sunday, bright and early, it was time to go camping in the middle of nowhere.
Student Leader Camping Trip
Every year in August, a group of youth from Faith Community Church who are serious about their faith (we call them student leaders) go on a camping trip into the Nicolet National Forest, five hours north of Janesville. It's one of my favorite things we do all year, and I'm always looking forward to it. This year did not disappoint. We had some of the best student leaders we've ever had, and this trip might be the best ever in terms of overall attitude and stability. I can't remember (or at least didn't hear) a single word of complaint, a single bad attitude, a single unkind word. Everyone got along, everyone loved each other, and everyone was responsible and caring. When the camp needed to be cleaned up, we all got up and did it, and it was done. And I came away from the trip with such a pride and overwhelming feeling of gratitude for these kids.
And yeah, they've kinda become my kids. I've started to make the transition in my head from student to youth leader, and I'm okay with that. As much as I like to romanticize the past and the great memories I've had with people over the years, I've come to the stark realization that I don't want life to go back to being the way it was. I like the direction I'm headed, and I'm excited to see what God does with me as I walk with Him. And being in this youth group as a leader and role-model is a big part of that.
Oh, we rowed a log like a canoe, by the way, across the entire lake. Multiple times. It was kind of the best thing ever.
The Weeks Since Then
I've been trying to make the most of my time since the camping trip ended. I don't know if I've really done the best job of it, but I tried anyway. From working to hanging with friends to getting ready for college to trying to spend as much time as possible with the girl that I love before she heads off back to Missouri, it's been a crazy week and a half. Tomorrow, Anna and Miranda head back off to college, and I start getting the final bits of preparation done for the start of my own college classes. Life returns to a routine, like it always does after the craziness of summer is over. But that's okay. I'm looking forward to the routine, actually. I'm looking forward to learning and growing, not just academically, but artistically, and emotionally, and spiritually. It's going to be an interesting semester, but I've got the God of the universe cheering for me and leading me every step of the way, so I'm ready to take the plunge, no matter how icy cold and shocking the water is.
Thanks for reading everyone, and stay tuned for more posts coming this week.